Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Try It, Sisters

Today's entry comes from the Tennessee Baptist, August 3, 186, from the Art Circle Public Library's Website.

August 3, 1861 - The parable of the patriotic, self-sacrificing Tennessee plantation mistress
A Noble Woman.
We overheard a conversation some few weeks since, which threw light upon the character of our fair countrywomen. A lady, young and beautiful, a graduate of one of our most popular Female Colleges, married the choice of her heart. They have a large plantation and a strong force to work it. He felt it to be his duty to lead a company of his neighbors and friends to the field of war to meet the invaders of our homes. But she was in such a condition that he hesitated to go from home, and for a time she was not quite willing that he should
leave her.

After some deliberation and consultation with friends, however, she said she earnestly desired him to go. ["]But who will take care of the plantation?"

"I can do it myself."

"You will need at least an overseer?"

"No, I can manage better than any overseer we are likely to procure."

"You must not be left alone."

"No, I will get some sensible woman for a companion. That is all I need or wish."

"What if you are disturbed or insulted?"

"I can shoot as well as my husband."

"What if your servants rebel against your authority?"

"There is no danger. They love me too well, and if need be I can make them fear me."

"Then you really wish your husband to go?"

"I do not like to be separated from him. It is a terrible trial, but some must go.  And between submission to the North and the short separation from my husband it is easy to choose. I can't go and fight but I can stay and take his place on the plantation while he is gone. Let him go and do his duty. I will stay and do mine."

Tennessee and all the South is full of just such women. They can and will, to a great extent, take upon themselves the cares and labors of the loved ones who have gone to the camp, so far at least as business is concerned. Why will not our sisters in the churches do the same, so far as practicable, in the labors of the church and the Sabbath School? Much or most that is to be done in the school they can do as well or better than anybody else. Try it sisters. Try it at once. Don't let your school disband or if it has done so, don't let another Sabbath pass till you gather it again. Don't wait for some one else to begin. Begin yourself, by going at once to the others who will help you, and secure the hearty cooperation of all. These times of trouble and distress are no time to neglect the duties of religion. When the dampness of death broods over the land the light of religion is more needful than ever. Take your places, then, at once, my sisters in the Lord. Fill up, at once, the ranks left vacant by our brethren who have
gone to defend you and the "other loved ones at home" from horrors worse than death. Don't let the cause of God, at home, suffer from their absence any more than the good lady referred to above intends to let the interest of her noble husband suffer in his absence.
A. C. D.
Tennessee Baptist, August 3, 1861.NOTE 1
NOTE 1: As cited in: http://www.uttyl.edu/vbetts.
From an 1861 Godey's Ladies Book ( NYPL Digital Gallery)

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